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Friday, November 26, 2010

Titles? Titles? Who's got the title?

Titles aren't normally my strong suit as a writer. Back when I first started doing freelance work, I would wrack my brain and agonize over inventing the perfect title. This turmoil was usually wasted because the editor often erased mine and put their own in anyway.

It's why I often slap a ramshackle place holder above my stories these days.

Of all the titles, I've created very few have ever been kept, so it was quite a surprise that my publisher kept the title of my book Who's at the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries. My original working title was The Young Elders, but that was very early in the process when I envisioned a more academic work rather than a human interest story.

When I came up with Who's a the Door?, I tested it with several people, and much to my surprise, they all had a physical reaction to it. Instead of a mere "Oh, that's nice," people smiled or chuckled. Right then, I knew it was a winner. I wasn't sure the publisher would agree, but they obviously did.

To emphasize the humor in the book, some co-workers of mine suggested alternate titles such as Who the HELL is at the Door? To this I added, Oh no, they're at the Door! or Hide! They're at the Door!

No matter how you slice it, I knew the missionaries were associated with an unexpected knock. Even those of us who let them into our lives know that the  process usually begins at the door, where we make the split-decision to open it or slam it shut.

It's the same decision readers will make when they see the book. 

Do we put it back on the shelf, or do we buy it?  Let's hope enough people choose the latter.


  1. I love coming up with titles-but then I am a very "pulp" loving author who digs those colorful visceral titles.

    Oh yeah, add your blog to your amazon author page-just so's more people can find you if they want too.

  2. I tried, but I'm not sure where the RSS feed URL is. Any ideas?